From sled runs to café hopping and farm friends to exotic plants, this peaceful downtown neighbourhood is the place for a chill, low-key adventure.
Families with children—hugging shiny blue “flying carpets”—stroll through the snow-laden back lanes of Cabbagetown, making a beeline for the toboggan slopes of Riverdale Park West.
Couples get to know one another as they stroll historic Parliament Street, cups of take-out coffee from Jet Fuel Coffee, the neighbourhood’s go-to spot.
And the cows at the Riverdale Farm barnyard contentedly chew their cud, at peace with the falling snow.
That’s the quiet beauty of winter in Cabbagetown, a quaint neighbourhood that sits just east of bustling Church-Wellesley Village and west of eclectic Gerrard Street East.
Here are 10 Cabbagetown destinations where you can experience the vibe for yourself.
Take a snapshot of wintertime farm life. Riverdale Farm is a 3-hectare (7.5-acre) working farm home to cows, pigs, chickens, sheep and goats.
Note: Animals can be viewed in pens and paddocks daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but indoor activities and attractions are currently on pause, so check the website for updates. 201 Winchester St.
Riverdale Park West Toboggan Hill
Some of the best downhill sledding in town can be found on the pristine slopes at Riverdale Park West. If you discover that the hill is too slippery to climb when you reach the bottom, there’s a handy staircase to get you back to the top and do it all over again. 375 Sumach St.
Kibo Sushi House
One is never sure if it’s the chandeliers adorning the ceiling or the Love Boat for Two combo that makes Kibo Sushi House so appealing for romantic nights out.
Diners can select from various items, including soups, salads, tataki plates and seafood. However, regulars say they keep returning for the shareable sushi pizzas, which pair an avocado base with yams, salmon, scallops, tuna, crab or unagi. 533 Parliament St.
Where better to warm up after a day exploring wintry Cabbagetown than an Italian trattoria housed in a cozy cottage? F’Amelia focuses on northern Italian cuisine: salads, focaccia, risotto, pizza and pasta (including vegan options). Dessert? Tiramisu is an excellent balm for winter’s chill. 12 Amelia St.
Allan Gardens Conservatory
Allan Gardens Conservatory—which houses six greenhouses over 1,490 sq m (16,000 sq ft)—is a veritable oasis in winter. Imagine strolling inside the humid conservatory surrounded by bromeliads, orchids, gingers and agaves as snowflakes cascade outside. 19 Horticultural Ave.
Salt and Tobacco
Where do you and your besties go after you’ve channelled your inner squealing child on the toboggan runs of Cabbagetown? Your best bet to continue the bonhomie would be the communal tables at Salt and Tobacco.
This relaxed pizza parlour (gluten-free and vegan options available) is modest in size but big on its welcoming vibe. There’s a great selection of beers on tap and wine. And don’t be surprised if a local stranger joins you at your table. 521 Parliament St.
This cemetery is worth a winter afternoon stroll with its beautiful vistas, statuary and Victorian architecture.
Notable citizens (such as former NDP leader Jack Layton and Anderson Ruffin Abbot, the first Canadian-born Black surgeon) are interred in the Toronto Necropolis, one of the city’s oldest cemeteries, located just north of Riverdale Farm.
History buffs may want to tramp through the snow to locate the monuments commemorating folks like Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews, two rebels who were hung in 1838 for their role in the 1837 rebellion in Upper Canada. 200 Winchester St.
Jet Fuel Coffee
Looking to watch a pristine snowfall blanket the streets? Try the window-facing stools just by the door at Jet Fuel Coffee. Or, if you’re on a date, choose one of the tables for two along the back wall.
You’ll also share the space with die-hard winter cyclists vying for incredible pastries and tummy-warming lattes. (Note: currently takeout only, so check café website for updates.) 519 Parliament St.
Butter Chicken Factory
One of a handful of Indian restaurants on the Parliament Street strip, the Butter Chicken Factory has won accolades from various foodie blogs for its namesake dish.
But if numbers warrant, consider ordering the whole tandoori chicken for your table. Or, for a tongue-stinging feast after your afternoon in the snow, order the chicken vindaloo and a sweet mango lassi to wash it all down. 556 Parliament St.
Getting to Cabbagetown
Take the Line 1 Yonge-University subway to College station, then take the 506 Carlton streetcar eastbound to Parliament Street.